|The Thames from St. Paul's Cathedral
Sidney Hotel, Belgravia
I saw the usual sites in London I had seen in 2001 and 2002. The Changing of the
guard at Buckingham Palace (left), the Thames, Tower of London, since the
crowds were non-existent. I passed through Westminster Abbey,
St. Paul's Cathedral and stopped at the Temple Church. For more pictures of
London click on the "London" link to the right.
One of my main reasons for coming to London was to go to the British Museum
again. My last visit I did not manage to get very many photos (see Great Britain
2001). This trip I visited the Museum twice. Once on my first full day in London
and later on my last day when I was in the area and realized there were still some
areas to see. Click on the "British Museum" link to see my photos.
Of course London is at the center of a train network that makes day trips to other
sites quick and easy. The first day trip I took was down to Greenwich which I
could take on a Light Rail Network connected to the tube. In Greenwich I went to
the disappointing National Maritime museum and the more interesting Greenwich
Observatory. I spent a brief amount of time in Greenwich Village and skating on
the ice at the Naval Academy. My Greenwich photos are available under the
I had been advised that Canterbury was a can't miss trip so mid-week I took the
train to Canterbury. Just over an hour from London on the east coast. In
Canterbury I toured the Cathedral, the ruins of the Augustine Abbey and the
touristy "Canterbury Tales". I was lucky enough to be in the Cathedral while the
students of Christ-Church College Choir were practicing. The best part of
Canterbury were the near Medieval streets in the area of town about the
Cathedral. More photos can be found in the "Canterbury" gallery.
On the last day of my stay I decided to visit Leeds Castle. While having an origin
in the 9th century the castle had continuing occupancy up into the 1950's and did
look overly modern. An interesting castle on a moat but it looked more like a
mansion. The hedge maze and grotto were interesting and I did manage to get
lost in the maze. The ruins of the Gatehouse were the most interesting part of
the castle. My images are in the "Leeds Castle" gallery.
The highlight of the trip was a day with "Premium Tours". I got to go into
Stonehenge at daybreak before the crowds of tourists with a small group of 14.
We were allowed to spend 30 minutes in amongst the stones. By the time I left
the sun was fully up and I got really good pictures and movies. It was very windy
and thus felt very cold but certainly worth it.
After Stonehenge the tour took us to the Heritage Trust village of Lacock and on
to Bath. I had spent a full day in Bath in 2002 so the rest of the trip was not as
interesting. Still the trip was definitely worth spending the extra money.
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In late December 2005 I decided to spend a week in Great Britain. Given the time of the year I
decided to spend every night in London. Except for the first night I spent every night in the
Sidney Hotel (left) in Belgravia. I lucked out on the weather and it was dry and not too cold (10
Celsius). In fact it was likely the driest 8 days I had ever spent in Great Britain. Spending every
night in the same hotel was a new experience for me but it added a certain leisure to the trip.
The one aspect that was disappointing about the December climate was the short length of the
day. Nothing was open before 11:00 AM and the sun went down by 4:00 PM.
Buckingham Palace in London during the
Changing of the Guard.
The Great Court and the Queen Elizabeth II
library of the British Museum.
The Greenwich Observatory and the Greenwich
Canterbury Cathedral Close.
|Stonehenge at Dawn. A visit with Premium Tours.
Standing in the Ruins of the Gatehouse at Leeds
Christmas Holidays 2005